After declining the IR remote upgrade before first shipment, and after playing with Winks for some time, I began to crave the IR Upgrade and regretted skipping it. PlumGeek folks were happy to help. I ordered two IR receiver devices and one remote transmitter, all under $10. The package arrived today and I puzzled over it for a few minutes.
I knew where the IR device was to be mounted...directly between the right button and motor, in the three circuit board holes. From the schematics, I could see the capacitor between the outer two pins, GND in the center and Vs on the outside. But the device pins themselves weren't labeled. At first I was just determined to guess the "bubble" on the device was the receiver probably should point backward in the direction not obstructed by the motor (which turned out to be correct). But then I found the part number on the schematic, googled for a datasheet, and confirmed it.
The device looks like a "large" plastic-encased transistor, except for a bulging bubble shape on one side. This is the side that should face toward the back end of Wink. The pins slid right into the holes. I decided to raise the device slightly off the circuit board for slightly better visibility. The soldering was straightforward, but it's a very small space, so you need a sharp tip and a steady hand.
I completed one Wink conversion then downloaded the IR demo sketch. It worked like a charm! The serial port seems to display the value twice for a given button press. I don't know if that is a de-bounce issue or other curiosity in the hardware code. I finished the second conversion and then put them together on the floor. I couldn't have been happier.
An interesting note is that there appears to be virtually no IR visibility issues. Both Winks seemed to take commands with any orientation to me. As long as I had line of site to the Wink, it received commands in any orientation. Cool.
Lots of things to play with in the future. The demo doesn't implement operations for all the buttons, so daughter and I made up our own "moves" for some other buttons. I also tried using a random old TV remote. Some older ones would coax Wink to do the last command, but mostly didn't work. I'll have to study what the IR protocol is to see if other TX devices might be made to work. Most fun was playing with them in a dark room and when someone turned on the light, both Winks executed the most recent command again! Not sure why, but cool!
One downside to the remote...in a classroom setting, many remotes would randomly trigger all winks instead of your individual wink. They aren't "linked" 1-1.
Anyway, just wanted to share. I was skeptical about if having the remote would just be distracting, but it gives the kid (and grownup ) a way to interact and input to Wink. We're thinking of ways to write many programs and control them from the remote.
Wink setup, hardware, basic programming. User to user support.
2 posts • Page 1 of 1
One thing that we used to do with the old LEGO RCX bots, which used an IR tower to upload programs, was shield the bot with a cardboard box during the upload to prevent uploading to other bots in the classroom. Some creative shielding might work.
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